Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Car: 2012 BMW M5


Things are about to get a lot more normal under the hood of the BMW M5. The outgoing car packed an utterly insane 5.0-liter V-10, which made 500 hp—at a screaming 7750 rpm. Prior to that, the E39 M5, which was sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s, roared along with a 394-hp, 4.9-liter V-8. In terms of bringing ecstasy to drivers, that car didn’t so much compete with AMG-tuned Benzes as it did with freebasing. And now, BMW has given us the full scoop on the all-new, fifth-generation M5. Read on to find out just what the men from Munich have done to the 5er.

The present and future of the automotive industry—even in the salacious world of high-performance ├╝ber-sedans—sees big, naturally aspirated engines replaced by smaller mills, force-fed air through turbo- or supercharging. BMW’s M5 is no exception, banishing the wild V-10 from last generation to the history books, and installing a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. BMW North America will advertise the powerplant at 560 hp. That would be four more than the Cadillac CTS-V’s supercharged V-8. The company promises 502 lb-ft of torque starting at a mere 1500 rpm, as well. These numbers may sound familiar if you’re a fan of the Bavarian propeller brand: the engine is already in service, making slightly less horsepower, in the X5 M and X6M.

Where the powertrain differs from that of the monster SUVs, however, is in delivering the goods to the pavement. The M-fettled X5 and X6 use a six-speed automatic and feature all-wheel drive, M’s latest 5-series will instead feature a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox—a close relative of the transmission doing duty in the M3 and 335is—and while it hasn’t been announced yet, we expect a six-speed manual to be on offer to us Yankees. Regardless of the transmission, power is dispatched to the rear wheels only.

BMW projects that the M5 will be capable of a 0-to-62-mph run in 4.4 seconds, and a top speed of 190 mph for cars fitted with the M Driver’s package. (BMW hasn’t yet indicated whether this option will be available in the U.S.) Considering that we’ve seen times in the low-four-second range for the last-gen M5, we won’t be surprised if BMW’s acceleration estimate turns out to be conservative.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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